SUP the Grand Canyon | Zeal Optics

What happens when you combine dreams of running the wildest white water in the lower 48 with a crew of talented SUPers? History. Hear Scotty Stoughton’s take on one of the wildest and purest forms of adventure and relive the experience through our lenses.

Words by Scott Stoughton | Images by Zach Mahone

The rich history of Macy’s Coffee House joins the timeless aroma of roasting coffee beans, conversation among travelers and the gritty paste of historic Route 66. My crew by now is fully en route to points East, West and North, Maui to Boston. The spirit of Native Americans, hobos and hipsters is joined by students and river explorers permeating the aromatic café, the town. It’s cold and rainy in Flagstaff, exactly the same wet and bone-chilling conditions as the day we set off three weeks ago to standup paddle the entire Grand Canyon, from Lee’s Ferry to Pierce Ferry. I’m often asked if I am a changed man when I return from an adventure, from Sarajevo to Istanbul, Bali to Budapest. My honest response is that I feel enhanced, rather than changed. But the recurring question now elicits a new response, I can honestly say that I am a changed man. Changed by the enormous forces and challenges presented by one of the greatest rivers, deepest canyons, most extreme conditions, intense physical demands, emotional peaks, and valleys plus the dynamic of eight (mostly new) people together in the backcountry for twenty-one days.

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